30 Jan 2012

Former Australian foreign minister says PNG woes a wake-up call for Canberra

1:07 pm on 30 January 2012

A former Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, says the recent political turbulence in Papua New Guinea should be a sharp wake-up call for Canberra.

Mr Downer has told the Adelaide Advertiser that PNG's stability is important to Australia and the world expects Australia to look after its own neighbourhood.

He says Australia's current leaders need to look to their immediate nieghbourhood and not just focus on glamour issues on the other side of the world.

Mr Downer says he expects the PNG situation to sort itself out and Sir Michael Somare will permanently retire, adding that he has been in politics for way too long and has nothing left to contribute.

He says the former prime minister, John Howard, used to say that his greatest foreign policy worry was that PNG would descend into political chaos.